What makes a Good Friend?
Contributed by Analiese Fernandez
On the days that hang low in the valley and the ones that soar at the mountain peak, we tend to lean deep into our friendships for support. One of the areas in my life that I continuously work to invest in is the area of friendships. As a millennial, I find that as I get older, it's harder to establish lasting friendships. When you do have one, you realize it’s a valuable, rare treasure and you do what you can to nurture it. Does anyone else agree? [caption id="attachment_8462" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Three best friends hugging each other in the city.[/caption] I have always strived to keep my circle of friends small and intimate. I don’t desire to call a plethora of people my friends, but preferably two or three like-minded individuals who want to run this journey of life with me. I recently moved to Arizona from Florida with my husband. As newlyweds, we uprooted our lives and all that we know to begin a new chapter across the country. I left my job behind, we both left our families, our homes, and the safety of our comfort blanket. We also left behind our cherished friendships. The ones that have withstood the test of time and have walked with us through some pivotal seasons of our lives. How blessed my husband and I are to have friendships so wonderful to miss. We know our friendships back home will always have a special place in our hearts; however, my husband and I know it is important to connect with community. With that being said, in a completely new city as millennials, we question where to even begin. It feels like starting over. What exactly makes a good friend? When I ask myself that question, I immediately think of my closest friend, Sara, who has been there for me through some of my recent young adulthood years. We supported one another in our season of singleness; ensuring that we didn’t get discouraged. We were each other’s voice of reason when the rest of the world would try to sway us off track. We would remind each other of our worth and that in the waiting, we had our friendship to cultivate and watch grow. Shortly after, we both met the men who would later become our future husbands. When it was my time to get married, I saw Sara’s friendship on a whole new level. A level of sacrifice and love that I will forever cherish. When I was engaged, Sara had already become a wonderful wife and a new mother. In the midst of a major transition in Sara’s own life, she never once hesitated to make herself available for every detail of my wedding planning (despite living an hour away from me). When I reflect back on wedding planning, I think of Sara who willingly and joyfully sacrificed to see my special day come to fruition. So when I think of the qualities of a good friend, I remember that I have to surround myself with like-minded people. How I would define that would be by surrounding yourself with people who are running by your side in life. People who share common values, qualities, interests, and passions. Those who won’t hold you back from all that God is calling you to be but will help propel you forward. A good friend is someone who is loyal and supportive but will also be able to give you tough love when you need it if it means it’s going to help better you as an individual. As the Proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Perhaps consider tough love to be an opportunity to be sharpened and be sure to reciprocate it for your friend who might need it one day too. Also, being capable of expressing empathy and being an active listener are essential qualities in a good friendship. All in all, the thought I keep coming back to is striving for life-giving and intentional friendships. Ones that leave you feeling rejuvenated and encouraged at the end of a conversation. A friendship where you and that person truly understand each other’s sense of humor and find yourselves laughing often. As millennials, we learn first-hand about “adulting” and the challenges it can bring at times, so laughter is essential and liberating. Strive for intentionality where both you and that other person make the same effort to cultivate your friendship. When I think of “cultivate,” I think of gardening; making preparations and caring for crops to one day reap a harvest. When we apply this mentality to our friendships, taking care of them and being intentional, we can one day hope to see the fruit of lasting, life-giving friendships. What other characteristics do you think would make a good friend? Comment below. For more tips on life and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.